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can itin replace ssn?

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)  to people  who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible for, a Social Security number (SSN).

An ITIN does not:

The ITIN is used in place of an SSN on a tax return to identify you, your spouse, or dependent without an SSN, on the tax return. For example, if you are an immigrant in the U.S. who has applied for legal status to work or reside in the U.S., you would need an ITIN to file a tax return while waiting for a decision.

If you have an ITIN that was issued before 2013, it has expired and you should have already received a notice from IRS to renew it. If you haven’t used your ITIN on a U.S. federal tax return in the last three years (2018-2020) you will need to renew it. For more information, visit ITIN Renewals.

Some of the benefits to getting an ITIN include:

1. Filing taxes.

This can serve as proof of “good moral character” in immigration cases. Filing taxes can be helpful in your immigration case if you are able to adjust your status in the future.

2. Opening a personal bank account.

In some cases, an ITIN can be used as a substitute for an SSN to open a personal checking or savings account. A bank account is a safe place to store your money and allows you to establish a financial history.

3. Building credit.

Some credit cards require you to have an established bank account to apply. By developing a good credit history, you may be able to do things like buy a house, purchase a car, or borrow money to start a business in the future.

4. Claiming tax credits.

Filing taxes also means that you can claim tax credits that you are eligible for. These credits can reduce the amount of taxes you owe or can provide you a tax refund that can be put towards things like the cost of raising kids or to cover daily living expenses. Learn more about specific tax credits available if you have an ITIN.

5. Purchasing health insurance.

When you purchase health insurance for your US-born children through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for the Premium Tax Credit (PTC), which can help lower how much you spend on insurance. To get the PTC, parents with ITINs are required to file their taxes.

6. Securing identification.

Some state governments accept ITINs as proof of identification when applying for a state issued ID. Having state issued identification can expand your traveling options. In eligible states, you can apply for your driver’s license, and you can use your ID to pass through TSA at airports.

To file a tax return, you must enter your ITIN in the space for the SSN on the tax form, complete the rest of the return, and submit the tax return (along with any additional forms) to the IRS.

Yes. There are some tax credits that you may be eligible to claim with an ITIN.

This tax benefit is worth up to $3,000 for each child under 17. (It is worth up to $3,600 for children under 6 years old.)  Eligibility for claiming the CTC depends on the status of your children. You can only claim the CTC if your qualifying children have Social Security Numbers. You and your spouse (if married) can have an ITIN or SSN.

The 2021 American Rescue Plan temporarily expanded the CTC, including offering advance payments that were issued between July and December 2021. Learn more about the expanded CTC here.

Note: The SSN requirement for children is set to expire at the end of 2025. Unless legislation is enacted, CTC eligibility will revert to prior rules—the credit will be worth up to $1,000 per child, and you, your spouse, and your qualifying child can have an SSN or ITIN to claim the CTC using Schedule 8812.

A $500 non-refundable credit is available for families with qualifying relatives. This includes children over 17 and children with an ITIN  who otherwise qualify for the CTC. Additionally, qualifying relatives who are considered a dependent for tax purposes (like dependent parents), can be claimed for this credit. Since this credit is non-refundable, it can only help reduce taxes owed. If you are eligible for both this credit and the CTC, this will be applied first to lower your taxable income.

Being able to claim a dependent may also allow people who are unmarried to claim the Head of Household filing status. Claiming “Head of Household” as your filing status (versus filing as single or married filing separately) may reduce the amount of income taxes owed.

If you didn’t get your third stimulus check, you can still claim it as the RRC when you file a 2021 tax return in 2022. The third stimulus check is worth up to $1,400 for each eligible adult and each qualifying dependent in a household. Any family member that has an SSN can qualify for the third stimulus check, even if the tax filer has an ITIN. For example, in a household where both parents have ITINs, and their children have SSNs, the children qualify for stimulus checks, even though the parents don’t.

Learn what to do if you missed your first or second stimulus check.

The Child and Dependent Care Credit is a federal tax benefit that can help you pay expenses for child or adult care that is needed to work or to look for work. The 2021 American Rescue Plan temporarily expands the credit for tax year 2021 (which you file taxes for in 2022), making it fully refundable. This means the credit can provide money back even if you don’t owe taxes. It is worth up to $4,000 for one dependent or up to $8,000 for two or more dependents. Learn more here.

This credit is worth up to $2,500 and can help reduce educational expenses to attend college. The credit is only available for the first four years of a student’s post-secondary education. Eligible students must be pursuing a degree or another recognized credential.

This non-refundable credit is worth up to $2,000 per household. It can be used to help reduce any post-secondary educational expenses (such as job training) and isn’t limited to people attending college.

Note: You CANNOT claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) with an ITIN.

If you want to file a tax return but cannot obtain a valid SSN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.” Form W-7 must be submitted to the IRS with a completed tax return and documents verifying identity and foreign status. You will need original documents or certified copies from the issuing agencies. The instructions for Form W-7 describe which documents are acceptable.

Parents or guardians may complete and sign a Form W-7 for a dependent under age 18 if the dependent is unable to do so, and must check the parent or guardian’s box in the signature area of the application. Dependents age 18 and older and spouses must complete and sign their own Forms W-7.

You can use this checklist to help prepare your application.

There are three ways you can complete the ITIN application:

Note: There is risk of delay in the IRS returning the supplied documentation, or it being lost, so applying through an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or with the help of a Certifying Acceptance Agent is recommended.

Currently, it takes an estimated 11 weeks for the IRS to process an ITIN application. Upon approving the application for the ITIN, the IRS will process the tax return and send a letter to the taxpayer, or the Certified Agent, containing the ITIN number(s) for use on subsequent tax returns.

Many people who are not authorized to live in the United States worry that filing taxes increases their exposure to the government, fearing this could ultimately result in deportation. If you already have an ITIN, then the IRS has your information, unless you moved recently. You are not increasing your exposure by renewing an ITIN or filing taxes with an ITIN.

Current law generally prohibits the IRS from sharing tax return information with other agencies, with a few important exceptions. For instance, tax return information may in certain cases be shared with state agencies responsible for tax administration or with law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution of non-tax criminal laws. The protections against the disclosure of information are set in law so they cannot be rescinded by a presidential executive order or other administrative action unless Congress changes the law.

Knowing the potential risks and benefits involved, only proceed with an ITIN application or tax filing if you feel comfortable. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult with an immigration attorney if you have any concerns.

Acceptance Agents are authorized by the IRS to assist you in completing your ITIN application. Some Acceptance Agents do not prepare tax returns. In that case, you must take the completed Form W-7 certified by the Agent to a VITA site or commercial tax preparer and submit it with the tax return.

Acceptance Agents are often found at colleges, financial institutions, accounting firms, nonprofit agencies and some Low Income Taxpayer Clinics. Commercial tax preparers who are Acceptance Agents often charge a fee that can range from $50 to $275 for completing the Form W-7. There is no fee for applying directly with the IRS.

Visit the Acceptance Agent Program on the IRS website for a list of Acceptance Agents by state that is updated quarterly. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) may also be able to help identify local Acceptance Agents.

Note to organizations:

You may want to become an Acceptance Agent. To do so, your organization must:

For more information on becoming an Acceptance Agent, see How to Become an Acceptance Agent for IRS ITIN Numbers.

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Delisha nvsuai
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Answer # 2 #

Individuals who are not eligible to receive a Social Security Number (SSN) instead get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

An alien individual can’t have both an ITIN and a SSN. Therefore, once you receive your SSN (e.g., after getting an EAD), you will have to rescind your ITIN.

After you receive your new SSN, you will have to send a letter to the IRS ITIN Unit requesting a rescindment of your ITIN. The SSN will become the primary number and must be used for all future filing purposes. The IRS will void the ITIN. All prior tax information under the ITIN will be associated with the new SSN.

Send a letter to:

Internal Revenue Service Austin, TX 73301-0057

Enclose the copies of your ITIN and SSN.

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Awtar V.K.Kumar
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